Antidepressant drugs and post-operative surgical pain

antidepressants in post operative pain
 
 
Post-operative pain can be sometimes difficult to treat with the usual pain killers.  Unresolved post-operative pain has been associated with poor overall outcomes including prolonged hospitalization. Hence sometimes drugs like antidepressants have been tried to counter recalcitrant post-operative pain, though scientifically not well validated.  Previous studies done to answer this specific issue have shown inconclusive and contradictory results. 
 
Dr Ian Gilron, professor and director of Clinical Pain Research in the Department of Anesthesiology, Queen’s University and colleagues reviewed more than fifteen trials to understand the effectiveness of antidepressant drugs when used to reduce pain post-surgery. The study is published in the journal Anesthesiology in the September 2014 monthly edition.
 
When anti-depressant drugs are used, it is suggested that in addition to its effect on mood, it may also have some anti-pain action. But, this is debatable as studies show that while 50% of patients who take antidepressants after surgery feel that their pain has considerably reduced as many as the other half of patients feel that antidepressant drugs are not as effective as pain killers. 
 
Unfortunately the present meta-analysis also couldn’t arrive at a conclusion regarding the effectiveness of antidepressants as pain killers. The authors of the study have suggested that more studies are needed to well define the role of antidepressants in tackling post-operative pain. As of now the evidence supporting the routine use of anti-depressants as post-surgery pain killers is insufficient. 
 
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Date: 
Sunday, October 12, 2014